By R.L. Bynum
The feel-good Week 17 story for Carolina fans was Antonio Williams’ NFL debut for the Buffalo Bills.
In the Bills’ 56–26 home win over the Miami Dolphins, Williams ran for 63 yards and two touchdowns and caught a pass for 20 more yards.
It was an impressive first game for Williams, who began his career at Ohio State before transferring to UNC after two seasons. He was on and off of Buffalo’s practice squad all season before finally playing Sunday. Williams originally signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent after the 2020 NFL draft.
In that game, the Bills’ Andre Smith forced the Dolphins’ Mack Hollins to fumble after Hollins’ only reception of the game.
Buffalo (13–3), as the No. 2 AFC seed, is host to No. 7 Indianapolis (11–5) at 1:05 p.m. Saturday.
Mitch Trubisky came into the day hoping to lead his Chicago Bears to a home victory over the Green Bay Packers to clinch a playoff spot. The Bears lost 35–16, but still made the playoffs thanks to the Arizona Cardinals’ 18–7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Trubisky connected on 33 of 42 passes for 252 yards, an interception and no touchdowns.
The No. 7 NFC seed Bears (8–8) visit the No. 2-seed New Orleans Saints (12–4) in the first round at 4:40 p.m. Sunday.
Cole Holcomb had six tackles and an assist to help Washington beat Philadelphia 20–13 to earn the NFC East title and a playoff spot. As the No. 4 seed, Washington (7–9) gets a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11–5) at 8:15 Saturday night.
Also in the playoffs are the Cleveland Browns (11–5) after a 24–22 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. M.J. Stewart had three tackles, an assist and an interception he returned 30 yards for the Browns. The No. 6-seed Browns play on the road against the No. 3 Pittsburgh (12–4) at 8:15 p.m. Sunday.
Eric Ebron was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and didn’t play Sunday for the Steelers.
Tre Boston had four tackles, six assists and a sack in the Carolina Panthers’ season-ending 33–7 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
How Tar Heels fared in Week 17
|Player||Position, team, status||Season statistics|
|Mitch Trubisky||QB, Bears, active|
|35–16 loss vs. GB||Started; 33-42-1, 252 yards 0 TDs; 4 rushes, 22 yards; 81. 7 rating||199-297-8 2,055, 16 TDs; 33 carries for 195 yards, 1 TD, 93.5 rating|
|Antonio Williams||RB, Bills, active|
|56–26 win vs. Mia||Didn’t start; 12 carries, 63 yards, 2 TDs; 1 catch on 1 target for 20 yards||Sunday’s game was his first|
|Eric Ebron||TE, Steelers active|
|24–22 loss at Cle||Didn’t play||56 catches for 558 yards, 5 TDs|
|Gio Bernard||RB, Bengals, active|
|38–3 loss vs. Bal||Started; 3 carries for 7 yards; 1 target, no catches||124 carries for 416 yards, 3 TDs; 47 catches for 355 yards, 3 TDs|
|Cole Holcomb||LB, Washington, active|
|20–13 win at Phi||Started; 6 tackles, 1 assist||43 tackles, 27 assists, 2.5 sacks|
|James Hurst||LG, Saints, active|
|33–7 win at Car||Didn’t start; reported as tackle-eligible 13 times||Played in 12 games|
|Mack Hollins||WR, Dolphins, active|
|56–26 loss at Buff||Didn’t start; 1 catch on 1 target for 3 yards before fumbling||15 catches for 173 yards and 1 TD; 1 tackle, 2 assists|
|Tre Boston||FS, Panthers, active|
|33–7 loss vs. NO||Started; 4 tackles, 6 assists, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss||58 tackles, 35 assists, 1 sack|
|Robert Quinn||LB, Bears, active|
|35–16 loss vs. GB||Started; 1 tackle, 1 assist, 1 QB hit||14 tackles, 6 assists, 2 sacks|
|Andre Smith||LB, Bills, active||,|
|56–26 win vs. Mia||Forced a fumble; 4 tackles, 1 assist, 1 tackle for a loss||8 tackles, 1 assist, 1 special teams tackle, 1 forced fumble|
|M.J. Stewart||CB, Browns, active|
|24–22 win vs. Pitt||Didn’t start; 1 interception returned for 30 yards; 3 tackles, 1 assist||18 tackles, 4 assists, 2 interceptions, 1 sack|
|Jason Strowbridge||DE, Dolphins, active|
|56–26 loss at Buff||Didn’t start; had no statistics||1 tackle, 2 assists|
|Charlie Heck||OT, Texans, active|
|41–38 loss vs. Titans||Started at right tackle||Has played in 3 games|
|Sylvester Williams||DT, Broncos, active|
|32–31 loss vs. LV||Didn’t start; 1 tackle||4 tackle; 5 assists; 1 tackle on 2-point conversion attempt|
|Jake Bargas||FB, Vikings, active|
|37–35 loss at Det||Didn’t play||No statistics in only game|
|Aaron Crawford||DT, Ravens, practice squad|
|R.J. Prince||OG, Ravens, practice squad|
|Bug Howard||TE, Jaguars, practice squad|
|Ryan Switzer||WR, Browns, practice squad|
|Kareem Martin||OLB, Lions, practice squad|
|William Sweet||OT, 49ers, practice squad|
|T.J. Logan||RB, Bucs, IR (out for season with leg injury)|
|Myles Dorn||FS, Vikings, IR|
|Jalen Dalton||DT, Saints, IR|
|Russell Bodine||C, Lions, opted out of season|